Appendix: A Note on Interviews
The comments from aids activists in chapters 5 and 6 are drawn from
oral history interviews with the women listed below. Interviews were re-
corded on audiotape and usually lasted from one to three hours. Unless
otherwise indicated, the interviews were conducted in New York City,
usually in the homes of the narrators. I used a life history approach but
focused primarily on the narrators’ activist experiences. The interviews
were loosely organized around questions about the narrators’ participa-
tion in act up, their particular experience as women and lesbians in act
up, their friendships and relationships in the group, and the ongoing im-
pact of act up in their lives. The structure of the interviews remained,
however, as open as possible in order to give the narrators an opportunity
to shape the content.
In some cases, especially toward the end of the research process or
when I was interviewing someone for a second time, my questions were
more pointed and my own agenda guided the structure of the interview
often because I was asking the narrators to clarifycomments made earlier.
I also consulted extensively with the narrators during the writing pro-
cess and had them approve each quotation. This dialogue has been enor-
mously important for my thinking. This group of women is extremely
self-conscious about representation and highly motivated to make a con-
tribution to the historical record, and their participation was thus very
active. I would encourage others using oral history methodology to con-
sult with their narrators as much as possible.
The quotations in the book have, in some cases, been edited for co-
herence or by the wishes of the narrators. I have tried to abridge the quo-
tations as little as possible in order to represent better the integrity of the
comments, but space has sometimes demanded excision. I wish to thank
all of these women for their exceptional contributions to this project. I
Previous Page Next Page